Exhibition introduces Australia’s indigenous culture to Vietnamese audiences

HCMC - The Yuendumu Doors exhibition, which is introducing one of the most important cultural and artistic collections in Australia, is taking place at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, aimed at bringing Australia’s unique indigenous culture to Vietnamese audiences and deepening the people-to-people links between the two countries.

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Murdie Nampijinpa Morris, a Warlpiri painter, poses for a photo with her painting – PHOTO: COURTESY OF AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY IN VIETNAM

Featuring 15 of 30 artworks painted by the Warlpiri aboriginal people on the classroom doors of the Yuendumu community school in 1984, the exhibition tells the story of how an aboriginal community in Central Australia preserved their culture for younger generations and adapted it to historical changes to their land.

With unique patterns painted in a vibrant color palette, this collection marks the beginning of Warlpiri contemporary art.

“I am very proud to present the Yuendumu doors for the first time in Vietnam through this exhibition. This collection demonstrates not only a valuable part of Australia’s unique indigenous culture but also determines how cultural heritage can be passed down through generations,” said Robyn Mudie, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam.

Australia is home to one of the world’s oldest living cultures, with aboriginal communities established nearly 60,000 years before European settlement. The Yuendumu doors were painted by the Warlpiri people, one of the largest aboriginal communities living for many thousands of years in Central Australia.

This community project was an attempt by the Warlpiri elders to pass down their ancestors’ stories and traditional values to younger generations to promote cultural understanding in the face of modern education. This collection also marked one of the very first times Aboriginal arts were presented with western art mediums and introduced to the public.

“With this exhibition, we would like to help the public understand some of the traditions of the Australian aboriginal people, appreciate the traditional values of our ancestors and contribute to preserving and enhancing the values of cultural heritage in the context of global integration,” said Dr. Dang Xuan Thanh, vice president of the Vietnam Academy of Social Science and director of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.

Attending the Yuendumu Doors exhibition, visitors will also have a chance to color their own paintings of Australian native animals and discover the significance of these animals to the indigenous people in Australia.

The exhibition runs until January 31, 2021 at the Trong Dong Building of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology on Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi.